Branching Out

It is said that we are all one; a part of one another; unique, individual yet the same; like limbs of a tree.

Pondering this thought over the years has taken many twists and turns as with each life experience, I’ve faced gnarls and windbends, whorls and snapping breaks of the branches of my own tree.

It never ceases to amaze me how varied human leaves look, sound, act, react or cease in the storms that this tree of life weathers.

Bending in sweetness to birdsong as a winged one alights in softness on a sturdy shoulder; swinging low with bountiful harvest of luscious ripening of the seasons, holding fast in the face of fierce storms, arms held akimbo reaching for light in the darkness and growing into fantastical shapes with aching, arching of years of survival in all life’s gales and gasps show the simplicity and intricacy of patterning on which one comes to depend for framework. A how-the-world-should-look-and-be in what is named normalcy.

Yet where one might suspect sapling flexibility there may arise oaken solidity unbending; fertile fruit bearing females may fail, male monoliths may moss, and where willows weeping-wend low they may wildly wail warning and warring while weathering the world.

How can it be that if we are all indeed one, there is such diversity, intensity and perversity on the tree of life?

One is tempted to be lulled into a false sense of illusion that leads to expectations of drops of kindness falling gently on leaves being met with kindness of receiving; joy shining in sunshine returning bright, reflective joy; compassion greeted green with whispering breezes empathetically enfolding and satin sadness shaded by the underside of understanding of silver soft leaves.

It is not always so, this vision of how things which seem to have always been will always be.

Therefore questions crop up as behaviors metamorphosis in conditions of global warming, economic explosions and scorched earth wars wreak havoc on the roots of our foresty home. 

Chaos of color collapses into challenge to change beyond accustomed seasonal sensations.

Where green at its worst, was envy, it is now greed. Riotous Autumnal ruby reds are flames of fury; buttery yellows of golden years turn into fears for future and burnt browns and siennas represent shades of balefulness.

How can our roots hold fast while limbs have been arched in agony, twisted beyond recognition and broken in breach of faith while the trunk of our tree of life is interminably tested?

Can we, arms of this essential elm, embrace each other and weave together a tapestry of stronger support so that we all may live long and well enough to see other bebranched beeches benefit; palms together play; willows whisper wonder and gingkos give the gold of memory for hickory heirs yet to spring forth?

Will we want to wake up enough to branch out in saner directions; to bring our best to the borrowed time in which we’ find our firred and furrowed forest and are we willing to look deeply inside the bark of ourselves to become aware of and acknowledge our shortcomings and see the lunatic in limbs gone gaga?

Can we manifest peace and perfection without courage for a good look at our family tree and, in the middle of madness all around us, when found to be outrageously out of control; whacked out in our own wilder-ness, can we honestly own our own behavior, see our common roots in “out of my tree’ behaviors and answer, without shame or blame, with perhaps a shower of light, the tree trimming question, “From what branch of the Crazy Tree did you fall?”


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